Superman II - Danger of footage deteriorating!

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Ryan_M_M, Nov 21, 2001.

  1. Ryan_M_M

    Ryan_M_M Stunt Coordinator

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    This point has been brought up by quite a number of fans. It's fair to say that there is a "real" danger of Richard Donner's Superman II footage deteriorating. To those unfamilar with what I am refering to (though most I hope aren't), Richard Donner filmed between 70-80 percent of Superman II before being axed and replaced by Richard Lester. Only around 35 percent of his original vision remains in the theatrical cut. To get a full rundown of events go here.
    http://www.deceptions.net/superman/s...idge/index.asp
    I and others feel that this travesty should NOT be allowed to continue, bearing in mind that many of these hidden from the public scenes featured the last works of the great cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth B.S.C. It is a real shame that this awesome footage (which also features Brando) is being laid to waste. [​IMG]
    What's does everyone else think?
    Please add your support for a Richard Donner Superman II recut on DVD
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/...ML/003753.html
     
  2. Jon D

    Jon D Stunt Coordinator

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    While it would be nice to see a Donner version of II, it wont happen. People have been clamoring for years. If it hasn't happened by now, it probably never will. Besides, even if Donner did a cut, there would still be 30% of the film that would be from Lester. Given the radically different approaches the directors had, I don't think they could ever mesh if Donner did his version, as the Lester scenes would stick out like a sore thumb worse than the Donner scenes do now. The cut Warner released on DVD will, in all likelyhood, be the end all version. I would love to see the Donner footage, though.
     
  3. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    Give up. Superman II is part of history, and the Donner footage will never be reintegrated into the movie. Personally I don't think it should be, either, at this point.

    From what I understand, even if someone was willing to try to create a "Donner version" from the material, there is a quagmire of rights issues etc - and IMHO, no guarantee it would turn out well.

    I would have loved to see Donner do the entire movie; most likely it would have been better. However, that is not how it turned out and I can't help thinking its time to just forget about it and move on. There are better things to focus ones energies on.
     
  4. James Christie

    James Christie Auditioning

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    Sure it's fair to say that a Donner SII cut is unlikely to happen, there are so many films that are probably higher up the list that are likely to get Special Edition treatment.

    However, there are a lot of fans who feel very strongly about this. But in the current climate of re-cutting by directors (eg, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Apocolypse Now Redux and E.T)surely this represents the best chance. A great many people would like to see this happen for many different reasons, the chance to see some of the legendary Geoffrey Unsworths photography is just another one of them. Sure - there can never be a 100% Donner cut, but there is no reason why the fans of the Superman series should be denied the chance to see a new, restored Superman II flying higher than ever. No need to give up yet.
     
  5. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Cinematographer

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    I for one would love to see a SUPERMAN II recut supervised by Donner. Special Editions and Directors Cuts are part of what makes DVD so special and I think SUPERMAN II is a prime title for this treatment. After all, SUPERMAN II was the second highest grossing film of 1981(after RAIDERS) and (with inflation adjusted) is still one of the top moneymakers in Warner Brothers history. Donner has expressed interest in revisiting the film in at least one interview(I believe in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY) and if legal hurdles can be overcome than Warner Brothers should go for it. Failing a Donner cut I would at least like to see the film re-released on DVD with a restored picture(the existing DVD is adequate but pales next to the SUPERMAN THE MOVIE restoration),the 70mm soundmix preserved on 5.1 and a deleted scenes section with the missing footage(especially the Brando stuff).
     
  6. Dharmesh C

    Dharmesh C Supporting Actor

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    I would be marginally happy if Warner and Donner allowed the scenes in a supplementary section.
     
  7. James Christie

    James Christie Auditioning

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    Great post Larry. Couldn't agree more. So there are tons of legal issues and it was 20 years ago. So what!! Campaigns like this are what makes DVD so special and a reason to believe that there is still MAGIC in filmmaking. The fans want it and the footage is there. The work of Brando, Unsworth and Donner is sitting in a can doing nothing. It seems so many films get the Special Edition treatment unnecessarily (not sure if I spelt that right) these days, but surely SII ranks up there as a film that justifies the work? Warners, please make us believe a man can fly all over again...
     
  8. Ryan_M_M

    Ryan_M_M Stunt Coordinator

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  9. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    Actually, I disagree that those other films you mention are parallells to this.
    The Game of Death footage was lost until it was dug out of the heaps somewhere in the former Golden Harvest archives, and if anyone had suggested that they hack off 70% of Lawrence of Arabia to replace it with other material, assuming that such material by a renown director would exist, every film lover on the planet would have rioted at having a classic gutted. [​IMG]
    In fact, I can't think of any film where people are advocating excising 70% of the theatrical release to add material that was scrapped by the studio before release.
    But of course, what people care about and feel are worth pursuing is individual. I just don't see it happening - but then again I never claimed infallibility. [​IMG]
     
  10. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Warner, I believe, actually approached Donner about this. He declined, as he still was embittered with the whole ordeal. I respect his wishes, although I REALLY wish the Marlon Brando could be reintergrated into the movie.
     
  11. Paul Richardson

    Paul Richardson Second Unit

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    The assumption, of course, is that this footage is "awesome." Since so few people have seen it (and those that have seen it have an obvious bias), who knows how good it is? While I'm curious, I think we do need to check ourselves...it seems that everybody is expecting this to be some sort of hidden masterpiece and may be quite disappointed if and when the footage resurfaces.
     
  12. Dharmesh C

    Dharmesh C Supporting Actor

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    It will be good as the first film footage, no doubts here. [​IMG]
     
  13. James Christie

    James Christie Auditioning

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    Lost footage of one of the greatest actors of all time? Lost work of legendary cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth? Even if we are all getting our hopes up over the footage, surely it demands to be seen? As a keen film academic and historian I think that a re-cut and re-stored SII would not only be able to stand in it's own right but also stand alongside the original theatrical SII. Why can't the two versions exist at the same time? It's unlikely they'll ever be another Superman movie as successful as the original Reeve, Donner, Unsworth and Williams collaboration - this could be our only chance to see more Superman footage of that calibre (at least for many years). I am, of course, biased in my opinion. I am a massive fan of STM. Anyone with an interest in seeing a new and 'most likely' improved version of SII should petition Warners to do so. The footage is out there!!

    P.S I am by the way a big fan of Richard Lester. I don't direspect his work on SII, I would just much ratehr see a version closer to how it was originally intended by Donner.
     
  14. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    OK, coming from someone who thought STM was camp fun, and Superman II was just silly, I looked into this with some interest.. and read through the link provided.. which makes notes like "the donner scenes stick out like a sore thumb" OK.. hmm.

    So, in Superman II, what scenes -are- the donner scenes? Does anyone have a list of what scenes are by who?
     
  15. Ryan_M_M

    Ryan_M_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Chris, go to this link
    http://www.deceptions.net/superman/s...s2analysis.htm
    The footage marked 1977 is Donners.
    The footage marked 1979 is Lesters.
    The footage marked mod1979 is footage that was filmed by Donner, but some Lester material was re-inserted into it as well.
    Very interesting reading this document as it also features scenes from the Extended versions that appeared across the world and does not solely rely on the theatrical cut.
     
  16. Jonathan Perregaux

    Jonathan Perregaux Screenwriter

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    Who would have thought that Paramount Pictures would re-team with director Robert Wise to recut and actually complete Star Trek: The Motion Picture after all these years?
    So don't give up. Stranger things have happened in cinema.
     
  17. Patrick Mirza

    Patrick Mirza Supporting Actor

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    This is a worthwhile effort. A film was taken away from its creative minds and finished in a manner that makes it nearly impossible to enjoy (by me, anyway).
    It was greed that derailed this movie and I hope that it'll be greed that restores this film to its nearly completed state.
     
  18. Johnathan_B

    Johnathan_B Auditioning

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    First off, I would like to say that I am not a fan of Superman movies. I especially do not like films by Warner Brothers. Most films from Warner Brothers are just popcorn flicks to give movie fans some hours of enjoyment before they are forgotten. However, I am intrigued to hear that Warner Brother has film footage by not only a good director in Richard Donner but also done by Geoffrey Unsworth who happens to be one of the greatest cinematographers in history. Unsworth's work in 2001:A Space Odyssey is well known as well as his legendary filter techniques. Even though I am not a fan of the Superman movies, I bought the Superman:The Movie just to see the great combination of Donner and Unsworth. The way the film was photographed and directed was phenomenal for its time. Truly a classic. However, I did notice a downgrade in quality when I decided to buy the Superman II DVD. I expected a continuation of the Donner and Unsworth pairing but instead it seemed like a movie without a real identity. The effects and photography also seemed largely lacking. If footage from Superman II by Unsworth and directed by Richard Donner are just wasting away in a vault, then it is a huge travesty. I do not even know why Warner Brothers does not even put this footage in an extra scenes section in a future special edition DVD. A Donner cut would be even better since Lester was only doing Superman II as a favor to retrieve money owed to him from the producers. Of course, the decisions by Warner Brothers not to do such things even when they have a potential goldmine on their hands are reasons why I stray away from their movies.
     
  19. Steve-T

    Steve-T Extra

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  20. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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